Friday, October 23, 2015

The 7/7/7/7 Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, fellow writer and AW denizen Maggie Maxwell tagged me in the 7/7/7/7 Challenge.

I had no control over it, obviously.

There I was, in the Congo, when I felt the sharp sting on the side of my leg.

Looked, saw the dart protruding from my thigh, the attached tag reading: "I have tagged you thusly. Also, there may or may not be poison."

I huffed. "Thusly," indeed.

And then the jungle around me exploded in a symphony of noise and heaving earth and foilage. The shockwave catapulted me through the undergrowth, snapping vines and low-hanging branches, down a sixty-foot slope, and into a croc-infested lagoon.

Lucky for me, the crocs had already feasted on taquitos and chimichangas so I was safe for the next six moments whilst I recovered my wits which had washed up on the lagoon shoreline.

Whilst, indeed.

Now, onto the Challenge.

Here's how it works: The damned tagged pick their WIP, turn to the seventh page, count down to the seventh line, share the next seven sons lines, and then tag seven other unfortunate souls writers to share their own.

The current WIP is, of course, an upcoming KAT AND MOUSE episode called "Devil's Night."

And, lo! the excerpt:
"You're the one who--"

"Yeah, yeah. I know. Shut up."

"Fine," I said, fighting back a grin. "Now focus."

"Fine," said Mouse.


Five minutes later, at 20:00 on the dot, two pairs of SUV headlights rounded the corner of xx and xx and rolled east toward us. The first pair of headlights pulled to a stop in front of the salvage yard.
/end excerpt

Now, I will tag some peeps...


For the curious, the "xx" in the above excerpt are placeholders. At this point in the writing process, I don't know the names of the streets in question so I put those there to keep me writing instead of coming to a screeching halt just to go back through my notes and city map just to find street names.

I'll fix that during the first revision pass.

See? You learn mysterious Writery things! What fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Serial Lives! No, Really! I Swear! It's True!

As I noted in this post, KAT AND MOUSE did resume with Season 3 back on September 7th. And in recent serial news updates, you can see the latest installments are posted.

But it looks like I didn't quite do my "due dilligence."

By chance the other day I happened to wander over to the Web Fiction Guide's listing for KAT AND MOUSE and discovered it had been tagged as "abandoned" and "unfinished."

Look at the red arrows!

What?! Unfinished? NOOOOOO!!!!!!

Abandoned?!? KHAAAAAAAANNNN!!!

Not true, KAT AND MOUSE Readers! Not true at all!

We are, in fact, back on.

Granted, we were on an extended hiatus due to extenuating circumstances.

But no longer.

I'll be contacting the fine folks over at WFG to let them know the Ladies are back.

Did you get here from the KAT AND MOUSE serial site? Click here to get back there and read more cyberpunk pulp goodness.

New KAT AND MOUSE installment is live!

We've got a new episode and a new installment for you this week. Part 1 of "Shanghai Squeeze" is now live.

Props go out to fellow writer Regan Summers who gave me a "throwaway" suggestion that the Ladies take on the Triads.

And here's the result.

Head on over to the KAT AND MOUSE serial site to read. And feel free to leave comments.

Did you get here from the KAT AND MOUSE serial site? Click here to get back there and read more cyberpunk pulp goodness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New KAT AND MOUSE Episode!

"Consequences," Part 2 is now live at the serial site. There's a big story reveal. Don't miss it!

Head on over to read then let me know your reaction in the comments.

Did you get here from the KAT AND MOUSE serial site? Click here to get back there and read more cyberpunk pulp goodness.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Progress Notes: Back In The Saddle, Y'all

We're back.

As you may already know, KAT AND MOUSE began Season 3 back on September 7th and five installments are now live at the serial site. Check the current archives to catch up on the story.

For those of you just joining us for "Progress Notes" this post explains what this series of posts is all about.

And now, to progress...

KAT AND MOUSE: Tales of Episode #304
We are in the middle of drafting and are at:

2,510 / 6,000

The plan is to get the draft done in the next two weeks and the final version queued up by mid-November.

KAT AND MOUSE: Tales of Episode #303
When I last did a Progress Notes post I mentioned this episode would be called "Kung Pao Killshot."

I've since changed the title to "Shanghai Squeeze" and it's now queued up ready to go live in about 2 weeks.

Still, a hat-tip goes out to fellow writer Regan Summers for the "throwaway suggestion" (read that last Progress Notes post for the details).

Did you get here from the KAT AND MOUSE serial site? Click here to get back there and read more cyberpunk pulp goodness.

(photo: abcdz2000/stock.xchng)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

KAT AND MOUSE News and Updates Now Linked Here

For quite some time I've been posting updates on KAT AND MOUSE here on the blog. Usually anything to do with episodes, serial news, and so on.

But it only occurred to me recently that the folks who'd probably be really interested in hearing about that would actually be the folks who read the serial. And I don't post such things on the serial site because that's specifically for the serial story (not counting announcements of breaks and hiatuses [hiati?]).

So I've now set up a link on the serial site (desktop and mobile version) that sends folks to this blog and to the category/label for KAT AND MOUSE news.

Did you get here from the KAT AND MOUSE serial site? Click here to get back there and read more cyberpunk pulp goodness.

New KAT AND MOUSE episode!

The latest episode, "Consequences,"  is up at the serial site.

Head over yonder to read it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

New KAT AND MOUSE Episode!

Season 3 is now live over at the serial site.

We begin with Part 1 of "Collateral Damage."

Friday, September 4, 2015

[FROM THE ARCHIVES] Cyberpunk Is Dead, Long Live Cyberpunk

Like I did Wednesday, to celebrate the upcoming premiere of KAT AND MOUSE Season 3 on Monday 9/7, I'm reposting a guest post I did last year for fellow writer K. L. Townsend's blog.

Here ya go, Gang...

Cyberpunk is Dead, Long Live Cyberpunk

A few years ago I was listening to a podcast (sadly I can't recall which one) and heard one of the panelists say cyberpunk was a dead genre so don't submit anything cyberpunk.

Over the past couple of years I've noticed that many sci-fi/fantasy literary agents have listed almost all subgenres in their "wish lists" except cyberpunk.

And looking at the shelves at Barnes & Noble, the only cyberpunk books I see are the subgenre classics like Neuromancer or Snow Crash.

So is cyberpunk really dead?

There are those who posit cyberpunk has transformed into post-cyberpunk. According to this definition (via Wikipedia), post-cyberpunk stories
continue to focus on social implications within a post-third industrial-era society, such as a ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information and cybernetic augmentaion of the human body, but without the assumption of dystopia
Still others have said that we already live in a cyberpunk world so the genre, as speculative fiction, doesn't work.

I'm of the opinion that cyberpunk has morphed into what I'd call "near-future noir." It's basically our world, just fast forwarded two or three decades. We still drive cars. We still watch TV. We're still on the Internet. But maybe the cars drive themselves or they fly. Maybe we watch immersive, 3D TV. Maybe we connect directly to the Internet through a data plug in the side of our head. Maybe we can replace a bad leg with a robotic prosthesis or a new biological one cloned from our own cells.

Not yet Star Trek.

But not quite the present.

That's the "near-future" part.

The "noir" part comes from the focus on the underbelly of society. Those people who live and work in the darker places of the city. Thugs. Gangsters. Rogues. Con men. All portrayed in half-shadow. Some bad. Some not so bad. Morally gray.

We've seen movies like this: Minority Report. Dredd. Heck, even the recent reboot of Robocop.

And even television (briefly) gave us Almost Human.

This is the world I write about in the Kat and Mouse stories. Kat and Mouse are mercenaries operating outside the law, in that underbelly of society. They live in the typical near-future urban jungle of steel and glass towers, forests of neon signs, and perpetually rain-drenched streets.

And the sky is always the color of a television tuned to a dead channel.

See? Not dead.

Just morphed.

But when you really get down to it, when you strip away the label "near-future noir," I'm really writing good ol' cyberpunk. Cyberpunk with an adventure story flavor.

So the big question: why write in a seemingly "dead" genre?

Because it's fun.

Because I like blending modern and possible future tech. Because I like the idea of plugging your brain into the Internet. Because I like the idea of cybernetic body part replacement and augmentation. Because I can use my knowledge of contemporary weapons and weapons use.

And because I like adventure stories.

I see myself much in the same mold as someone who writes sword and sorcery. Taking elements of a fantasy world and crafting a fun adventure tale from it. In this case, I'm taking elements of cyberpunk--the look, the tech, the setting--and using it to write an adventure story.

At its core, I'm writing escapist fiction. There's no exploration of the social implications of technology typically inherent in cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk stories.

I'm writing about car chases, gun battles, and walking slowly away from that explosion behind you.

That's why I'm writing cyberpunk.

Dead genre?


Still alive, I say.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

[FROM THE ARCHIVES] Cyberpunk Pulp

With the upcoming premiere of KAT AND MOUSE Season 3 on Monday 9/7, I thought I'd repost a guest post I did last year for ClarksonPunk in which I talk a little about what I like to call "cyberpunk pulp."

Here ya go, Gang...

What Is "Cyberpunk Pulp" And How Can I Get Some?

When I tell people I'm a writer, inevitably I get asked "What do you write?"

The answer isn't as straightforward as it should be.

Other folks can probably say something like "I write historical fiction," "I write cozy mysteries," or "I write techno-thrillers." Even something as easy as "I write romance novels."

Only problem is the genre I write doesn't exist.

Not exactly.

So I tend to tell people "I write sci-fi action-adventure" and that seems to get the idea across.

But it's not quite that either. I want to say it's a genre of its own. Better yet, it's a sub genre of a sub genre.

So I propose calling it "cyberpunk pulp" and make it a sub-set of New Pulp.

First, New Pulp: What is it?

According to AJ's definition (taken from New Pulp, the website) New Pulp is
"fiction written with the same sensibilities, linear storytelling, pattern of conflict, and creative use of words and phrases of original Pulp, but crafted by modern writers, artists, and publishers."
Furthermore, according to New Pulp, the website:
"New Pulp is Pulp written today."
I'm a modern writer. I write fiction with the same sensibilities, linear storytelling, pattern of conflict, and creative use of words and phrases of original Pulp.

I appear to fit the definition of New Pulp.

Now, cyberpunk pulp.

Let me break it down.

Cyberpunk is, according to Wikipedia:
science fiction in a near-future setting. Noted for its focus on "high tech and low life," it features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.

Cyberpunk plots often center on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations...
Let's look at my fiction and see if it fits.

I write a series of stories about Kat and Mouse, a pair of female mercenaries who operate in the city of Bay City in the California Free State in the year 2042. As mercenaries, they take jobs from a variety of clients--some from individuals, others from megacorporations looking for a third party. Since they deal and operate outside the law, Kat and Mouse often encounter heavily armed opponents and must equip themselves properly. To that end, they are each fitted with biomodifications such as optical implants for night vision, infrared, and computerized targeting, and implanted body armor to defeat standard handgun rounds.

Down the cyberpunk checklist.

Near-future setting? Check.

Focus of "high tech and low life"? Check.

Features advanced science such as information technology and cybernectics? Check.

Degree of breakdown/radical change in the social order? Check.

Plots center on a conflict among hackers, AI, and megacorporations? Two out of those three but check.

The Kat and Mouse stories fit the cyberpunk definition.

Add to that the definition of New Pulp and we get something like this:
Cyberpunk Pulp is science fiction in a near-future setting with a focus on "high tech and low life," featuring advanced science coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order, with plots often centering on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations written with the same sensibilities, linear storytelling, pattern of conflict, and creative use of words and phrases of original Pulp.
Now some of you might be scratching your head, saying, "Abner, ol' buddy--that's a mouthful."

You might also be saying, "Abner, ol' buddy--why go through all that? Why not just call it 'cyberpunk' and be done with it? Or better still, go with your original description. Sci-fi action-adventure."

A couple of problems with that.

If I go with "sci-fi action-adventure," there are some who would immediately think of Star Wars or Star Trek.

But it's not that.

If I just call it "cyberpunk," there are some who would expect some exploration of transhumanism or the impact of technology, positive or negative, on society.

But I don't do that.

I write cyberpunk but with a pulp flavor.

The closest other subgenre I could compare it to would be sword and sorcery with its tales of high adventure and swashbuckling derring-do set against a backdrop of kings, queens, warlords, sorcerers, shining cities, and magic.

And that's exactly what I'm trying to do with this. Tales of high adventure and swashbuckling derring-do set against a backdrop of noir cities, high tech gadetry, Orwellian governments, world-spanning megacorporations, and the underbelly of society.

In fact, Conan and Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser were among the early influencers for the Kat and Mouse stories. After reading pages and pages of their adventures to get the right feel for those types of stories, I then took a tip from S&S writer Darrell Schweitzer. In his essay, "Sword and Sorcery, Dragon and Princess," (from How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction edited by J.N. Williamson), Schweitzer advises:
You need an action plot. Sword and sorcery is not a field of deep psychological introspection. This is not what the readership comes to sword and sorcery stories for. Try for overt conflicts, plenty of physical action, and rapid plot movement. That is, if they're plotting to overthrow the barbarian king in chapter one, by chapter two, the palace should be invaded by Serpent Men of Valusia, and in chapter three, the hero is magically whisked away to the Black Crypt of N'Kai. You get the idea.
That's the underlying style I'm going for.

Overt conflicts. Plenty of physical action. Rapid plot movement.

No time to ponder the implications of implanted optical night vision. Kat sees the megacorporation's gun-toting mook coming around the corner of a darkened corridor, she lets fly with a hail of .45-caliber slugs in a spray of fire and thunder, the mook's chest craters six times, and he crumples.

That's the idea.

That's cyberpunk pulp.

Now--strap on your semi-autos, boot up your optical implants, and let's get cyberpunk pulping.

*   *   *

On Friday, I'll repost another guest post looking at cyberpunk as a dead genre.

Monday, August 31, 2015

One Week More!

Just a reminder, Gang, that Season 3 of KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE goes live next Monday at the serial site.

Be sure to subscribe to get the latest and newest installments delivered to your email or to your RSS feed.

And if you need to catch up on the first two seasons, head over to the Season 1 and Season 2 archives or grab the "boxed sets."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why I Write

For the past few weeks I've seen several of these "why I write" blog posts floating about on Twitter and it got me thinking.

In the past (including last week) I've posted about what I write.

But I've never really talked about why I write.

After much thought, here's my answer:

I'm sure some folks out there write because they want to explore some aspect of the human condition. Some likely write to advance and champion a cause that's dear to them. Some, to teach by way of an allegorical tale. Others may write because they have that certain story only they can tell the world. And still others write because they must.

To those who write because of those and/or similar reasons, I salute you.

Nothing so noble or meaningful for me.

I write to entertain.

To help in your escape from the stresses of the Real World.

I write to tak you on a pulse-pounding, exhilirating, roller coaster ride.

Or, at the very least, something close to that.

If, after reading one of my tales, you let out that breath you've been holding and say, "Wow! That was fun! Let's do it again! And then let's find another one he's written and enjoy that one, too!", then I've done my job.

That's why I write.

"But Abner," you might be saying. "What about the  bigger picture? What about writing to examine the self? Or to examine man and his connection to others, to life, the universe, and everything? In short, what about writing to advance a cause, explore the human condition, and teach through allegory? you heartless, inconsiderate bastard Don't you care about that, you heartless bastard?"

Honestly, I say let other people do that if they're so inclined. Seems to me there are enough writers out there who are doing exactly that.

Does that make me less of a writer?

I don't know.

I don't believe it does.

But if you think so, then maybe I'm not the writer for you.

Call me a hack writer if you like, if it will make you feel better.

I'll completely embrace the term.

So...once more, with feeling...

I write to entertain.

Monday, August 17, 2015

In Which I Remind Myself Yet Another Time...

I seem to require this every few months so I'm going to do it again.

This is what I write.

Friday, August 14, 2015

(Cue Chirping Crickets)

I know.

Until Tuesday's post, the blog's been pretty quiet.

Life's been a tad busy lately. The new Day Jobbe has the oddest hours and days I've ever worked so making time for various obligations has been a daily challenge. And whatever hours aren't spent with LadyAce are spent plotting and writing KAT AND MOUSE.

Which hasn't left much time for blogging.

But buck up, Campers.

Posts will return.

In fact, the next few weeks will see a few new/new-ish posts all leading up to the Season 3 premiere of KAT AND MOUSE.

After that, there'll be the weekly announcements of new installments.

And I'm sure I'll post when I've got something to muse on.

So we may go back to a quiet blog space after that.

I don't know for sure.

My priority, after Personal Obligations, is to continue feeding the Creative Well and caring for and listening to the Story Voices.

And if there's some bloggery that happens while I do that, fantastic.

And if there isn't, also fantastic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Cyberpunk Pulp Coming Soon!

Yes, Folks.

You guessed right.

KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE will be back with Season Three and new episodes/installments starting September 7th.

If you're behind and need to catch up, binge-read the archives for Season One and Season Two.

Or grab the "boxed sets" of both seasons for your favorite e-reader.

Then be sure to subscribe (RSS or email) so you don't miss out on new installments.

And if you'd like to support the serial and allow me to continue writing about the Ladies, check out my Patreon page for the scoop.

See y'all in September!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sitting In The Fringes

Originally I was going to comment on a tweet that popped up on my feed a few days ago.

But after further consideration, I've decided not to.

Said tweet started me down the dangerous road of self-doubt and, frankly, I don't need to go there anymore.

Especially after what I posted yesterday.

So I have jettisoned the tweet to the electronic circular file and put myself back on track.

Fuck that nonsense.

And if that decision puts me in the fringes, so be it.

Huzzah for the fringe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Voices

They're becoming more frequent.

And sticking around longer.

Good sign.

But I'm still exercising patience per Skyla's post.

Not gonna make the same mistake of causing them to vanish again.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Currently in the process of cleaning up the blog, the main website, the serial site, and associated online venues that took hits from my "knee-jerk reaction."

Gonna take a few days before we're back up to speed with the sites.

Hang tight, y'all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Man's An Idiot

Hello, Kids!

Doctor Jericho here.

Yes, I've snuck onto Abner's blog without his knowledge once again.

I've been watching things for the last few months and I feel it's time to set the record straight.

Abner is not in his right mind.

To that end, I've locked him up in The Vault for a round of intensive detoxification.

Yes, it involves six feet of plastic tubing, 200 pounds of cooked spaghetti noodles, and a yak.

So stay tuned, Dear Friends. I'm working on him.